The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Karnataka State executive committee, which began its two-day meet at Hubballi on December 28, dismissed rumours that there would be a leadership change in Karnataka and warned party members not to raise or discuss the issue publicly. Arun Singh, BJP Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) and party-in-charge of Karnataka, also reiterated that the BJP would face elections in Karnataka in 2023 under the leadership of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Senior leaders of the BJP such as Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, and Nalin Kumar Kateel, State BJP president, also endorsed Arun Singh’s statement.
According to sources within the BJP, party members were strictly warned not to discuss issues relating to leadership change. "If such issues are discussed publicly, it will have an effect on the credibility of the party. Even though change of leadership is not being considered by the high command, some leaders continue to mention it. They have been warned to cease from such talk," revealed a BJP source on what transpired in Hubballi.
There was a buzz in political circles that Bommai would be replaced after K.S. Eshwarappa, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, described Murugesh Nirani, Large and Medium Scale Industries Minister, as the "future chief minister of Karnataka" recently. Nirani was one of the top contenders for the Chief Minister’s chair when B.S. Yediyurappa resigned in July this year but was passed over and Bommai was chosen to head the BJP government.
Speaking to presspersons in Hubballi, Bommai said, "My aim is to bring back the BJP to power in 2023 and I will work tirelessly towards this goal. National party leaders have displayed their faith in me and I will ensure that they are not disappointed."